Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has announced a seven-day lockdown on Thursday afternoon after 8 additional cases of the Delta strain were detected.
The decision means that students across the state will learn from home until 12 August.
“There is no alternative but for us to listen to our public health experts and take their advice, and that advice is to lockdown for seven days from 8pm tonight,” Premier Andrews said in a late afternoon press conference.
“Only three of the new cases can be linked to a new outbreak. The rest, we will have to assume are mystery cases. We don’t know who they’ve given it to, or how many people they’ve given it to.”
The Premier said that while the lockdown officially begins at 8pm tonight all residents should consider that it is "effective immediately" given the serious nature of the outbreak.
“My fear is that if we were to wait even just a few days longer, there’s every chance that, instead of being locked down for a week, we would be locked down until we’re all vaccinated – and that could be months away.”
Earlier in the day, it was announced that the largest Islamic college in Victoria would be closed for 14 days and its 300 staff and 2,100 students tested after a teacher contracted the highly contagious Delta strain of COVID-19.
Victorian health officials have warned that a female teacher from Al-Taqwa College in Truganina may have unknowingly been infectious for days while continuing to teach at the school, which saw more than 200 cases during Victoria’s previous COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
Two other schools, Ilim College and the Australian International Academy of Education (AIAE), closed some of their campuses as a precaution. Ilim College’s campuses in Dallas, Glenroy and Doveton will be closed, while AIAE’s campuses in North Coburg, Coburg and Caroline Springs will be non-operational today..
Victorian Health has confirmed there are now more than a dozen new exposure sites across the west, including in Caroline Springs, Altona North and Spotswood.
The state's latest COVID-19 data shows there were six cases recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm last night. All six were linked to previously reported cases, but were active in the community whilst infectious.